Managed XDR Investigation of Ducktail in Trend Vision One™
The Trend Micro Managed XDR team investigated several Ducktail-related web browser credential dumping incidents involving different customers.
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In July 2022, security researchers discovered an operation called Ducktail, in which threat actors used information-stealing malware to target, individuals and employees who might have access to Facebook business accounts. The perpetrators launched a spear-phishing campaign via LinkedIn direct messages that are aimed at marketing and HR professionals. This scheme would allow the threat actor behind Ducktail to take over Facebook business accounts and abuse the ad function for malicious advertising deployments. Given its growth and popularity, LinkedIn has increasingly become a preferred option for social engineering schemes and cybercriminal operations.
In March 2023, the Trend Micro Managed XDR team investigated several Ducktail-related web browser credential dumping incidents involving different customers. As a result, we discovered the involvement of a file that gathers user data, such as browser information, IP address, and geolocation, while also connecting to Facebook and Telegram domains. In this blog entry, we present our findings and technical analysis based on these incidents.
The file name of the sample file, which includes a reference to a job opening for a marketing director (Figure 1), is clearly aimed at marketing professionals. It is also likely that it mentions a higher leadership position to lure them into accessing the archive. Note that we only had access to the download link, so we can’t definitively say how these links were delivered to the target; however, it’s possible that LinkedIn messages were used given Ducktail’s historical use of the platform.
Through the file name, we were able to gather the contents (Figure 2) as well as the source (Figure 3) of the archive. Upon checking the domain, we found that the malicious file was hosted on iCloud, Apple’s cloud file-hosting service. Note that the URL is already inactive at the time of writing.
We looked into the created processes and observed three processes total. Two of these — one was for Microsoft Edge (Figure 5) and one was for Google Chrome (Figure 6) — are used to gather the IP addresses and geolocation of the victims.
The following argument is used for these processes:
--headless --disable-gpu --disable-logging --dump-dom hxxps://getip[.]pro
The last process (Figure 7) is used to open a PDF file containing the description for the fake job position.
While victims are busy reading the spawned PDF file, the malware is already gathering browser credentials and connecting to their Facebook domain to gather Facebook-related information. Once the data is gathered, the malware stores it in a text file as %User.
Temp%\temp_update_data_8.txt. It is then exfiltrated using Telegram. Our observation is that the malware updates and sends the data every 10 minutes.
Hunting for other affected machines
Once the threat connected to Telegram, we decided to search for other affected machines. Using the Telegram IP address, we searched for other possible infections in the environment using the Search app function of Trend Vision One™. The search yielded the following processes on a couple of machines:
- C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\MS Excel.exe
We verified that all files were similar to the first detected file. Notably, the name of the binaries in this case made it seem like they were office applications.
Security recommendations and Trend solutions
Given the heavy use of social engineering lures by today’s threat actors, individual users and organizations should take great care to avoid selecting links or downloading files from unknown sources, whether they are sent via social media websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, or through emails. The following best practices can help users avoid being victimized by spear-phishing attacks:
- Users should be cautious of unexpected or unsolicited emails. Before responding to or opening any attachments or links, users should first verify the sender’s identity.
- Users should avoid selecting suspicious links, especially if they are from unknown or suspicious sources. Hovering over the link to see the URL can help recipients check if a link leads to a legitimate website.
- Organizations should ensure that their employees are educated on spear phishing and how to recognize and avoid it. Conducting regular training sessions can help keep everyone informed and up to date.
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Indicators of Compromise (IOCs)
The indicators of compromise for this entry can be found here.